July 1981

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Uncovering the Truth About the 1981 Hunger Strike

Pádraic Wilson in Andersonstown News

You can’t rewrite history, says leading republican
Andersonstown News,Thursday 21st of August 2009
By Anthony Neeson

A leading Belfast republican has told a hunger strike commemoration in the West of the city that you can’t rewrite history.

Pádraic Wilson was speaking at a gathering of several hundred people in Whiterock Leisure Centre on Sunday evening.

Earlier that day republicans had taken part in a march commemorating the 1969 pogroms as well as a hunger strike rally in County Tryone.

Mr Wilson said that while republicans were used to being demonised by political rivals and the mainstream media, now some “former comrades” had “aligned themselves” with revisionism.

Speaking about the former he said: “They vilified and demonised our comrades, their families and each and every one of us.

“They provided a rationale for the murderous attacks against the Relatives’ Action Committees and others.

“In recent times there have been attempts, led by some of the same people, to rewrite the history of that period.

“If we didn’t know better we could be forgiven for thinking that these people actually cared about our comrades or their families.”

He said people needed to be clear about a number of things.

“The British government, led by Thatcher, was not an honest broker trying desperately to find a solution to a situation for which they had no responsibility.

“Thatcher had shown quite clearly in December 1980, when the opportunity for a solution to the situation in the H-Blocks and Armagh arose, that she had one intention and one only, and that was to demoralise us, crush us, and to deliver a death blow to republican resistance. According to her we had played our last card… the game was still going in Brighton in 1984, Maggie.

“She and her allies failed inside the prisons and they failed on the outside.

“They failed because we, and that means those of us who were in prison, those of you who fought and campaigned on the outside, and those of you who provided the resources for that, all of us refused to be intimidated, refused to bow down and refused to be criminalised.

“While we expect it from those quarters, there are others, some of them former comrades, who have aligned themselves with this revisionism. The logic of their position is that our comrades were like sheep being led aimlessly along.

“That is an insult and it needs challenged.”

Mr Wilson spoke about Andersonstown hunger striker Kieran Doherty, a man he knew well, and recalled the punishment that he and others endured in the H-Blocks.

“I’ve been asked at various times over the years if it was all worth it,” he told the audience. “I’ve always responded that everything that I’ve experienced and all that I’ve been a part of were necessary and worthy.

“Mindful that some people might think that’s an easy answer to give because I’m alive and well, I can only say that any other response would be a lie and a betrayal.”

Sourced from the Andersonstown News

Category: 2009, Andersonstown News, Media

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SPRING 2013: 55 HOURS
A day-by-day account of the events of early July, 1981.


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